When Should I Update My Website?

I was recently at a meeting with a client and asked the question, “How often should a website be redesigned”?

That’s a great question. There is no short answer except that if it is working for you—leave it alone- well, at least the part(s) that work, there is always room for improvement. Just be careful not to undo or overdo. Now, as a person that owns a company that designs websites, and re-designs websites, the answer really depends on some basics.

What is the purpose of your website?
A website can serve many puproses and many audiences. Does it collect information from visitors? Does it show products? Does it offer information to a certain audience? Is it purely entertainment? Does is provide an overview of your business? What the heck does it do for you? You have to answer that question first, and then answer this one, what do you want it to do? Make a wish list of your perfect website and how you want it to work. Save that list, when you do re-design — have that list for your website designer. If they are going to do a great job, they should be happy to have it.

Does your website look really great?
If your website looks like you made it yourself, chances are you did. Don’t do that again. Most likely, your website has not gotten a lot of traffic either. The majority of visitors will have only this view of your business or product to determine whether you are worthy of their attention. We call this “visual trust” and it is your chance to make an impression. If your website is not a completely professional looking, well designed site, you will probably not get much reaction other than “click” on the visitor’s browser’s back button. Your opportunity just ended.

Does your website show up in search engines when searching for your type of business?
If your site is not being found in search engines, that can be changed. If you are thinking about re-designing, this would be a good time to make sure there is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in place. Find  a reputable firm with references, and most importantly, look for yourself to see if the site they give as a reference actually comes up in more than one search.

Here is the answer to the big question
There is no single easy answer. Look to the obvious. It is time to redesign your website if you are not getting any responses from it. Why wait? The money you invest in a professional designer to make your site professional looking and function correctly will pay for itself many times over.

It is time to redesign your website if it is out of style. How can you tell it is out of style? Ask a professional, maybe two or three. Do you feel it is in need of a boost? Maybe it needs one, it may only be adding a mailing list and offering a montly newsletter, or maybe a new case study. Keep it fresh and timely- maybe just keep it up to date with steady improvements. A well designed site structure will allow for sections to be added or changed without redesigning the overall site. …more later.